Susan Wolf Johnson

Gasparilla King Blog

The Penalty for Jumping off a Building = Death

When Becca came home and found out her grandfather was missing, she had to figure out another way to get the money she needed. Two days later she flew to New York City to beg Pug Kismet, her boss, to advance her eight hundred dollars. She promised to pay him back when her grandfather returned.
The Penalty for Jumping off a Building = Death

When Becca came home and found out her grandfather was missing, she had to figure out another way to get the money she needed. Two days later she flew to New York City to beg Pug Kismet, her boss, to advance her eight hundred dollars. She promised to pay him back when her grandfather returned. They were in his office when he reached across the desk and squeezed Becca's hand. He wanted to make a deal. He stood up and smiled at her. "You know, there are other things you can do for me." He patted the front of his pants with his other hand. "We'd make a good team." Becca froze. She was too stunned to pull her hand back, to grab her purse from the chair and bolt.

"It could be your choice," he said and grinned at her. "Your fingers on my flute, your lips on my reed—you call the shots." The room was suddenly hot, putrid with his breath that hung between them as he moved closer to her around the desk. She watched his hand lower the zipper on his pants and fumble with the jockey shorts to expose himself. To find out what happened to Becca, check out Chapter 4 in the novel.

When Becca left Kismet's office, she went straight to old boyfriend's apartment. She'd hidden her engagement ring in the back of his medicine cabinet. Now she needed to pawn the ring, to get enough money for what had to be done. While she was in the apartment, she heard Adam's voice talking to the next door neighbor. She grabbed the ring, raced through the bedroom, and crawled out the open window onto the fire escape to avoid being caught. Once outside, she crawled onto the steel grate. The wind whipped furiously, picking up the ends of her hair so it whirled around her head. She peered down at the street, at the people bustling like miniature wind-up toys along the sidewalk. She gripped the rail, suddenly paralyzed from the dizzying height and the wind that threatened to blow her off the platform. But the balcony felt sturdy, so she inched her way along, toward the flower boxes teeming with geraniums. At the stairs, she forced one foot down and then the next, her palms sweaty from clutching the rail. When she reached the first landing, she crawled across the platform, huddled against the brick wall. She had seven more stories to go, and she couldn't even breathe. Her heart heaved. She'd never make her appointment. For a moment, she thought she'd just go home, confess to Nattie her horrible mistake, and beg forgiveness. Then she pictured her grandmother's face, beet-red with words she'd try to suppress. "You reckless fool!"

Why was Becca so afraid to tell her grandmother she was pregnant? Why didn't she want to tell Adam? In 1972, New York was the only city in America that performed legal abortions. What were the consequences for a young woman who bore a child out of wedlock in that time period? What advice would you give Becca? What would you have done?

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